REPORT OF THE COMMISSION TO LOCATE THE SITE OF THE
FRONTIER FORTS OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Vol.1, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, 1916.
Contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Georgette Ochs.
Transcription is verbatim.
"The Rose Inn"
The Rose Tavern. - Stockade.
The youngest sister of the family was she of the beautiful name "Rose." Like the youngest of the house is frequently, so was she, different from all the others. Instead of the quiet, staid and matronly, so to say, settlement at Gnadenthal, Christian's Spring, and Friedensthal, we have the rollicking, bustling and cheerful public "Inn". It was distant about 1-1/4 miles north by east from old Nazareth. The story of its birth and existence is interesting.
In 1751 there came orders from the head men of the Church in the old country for the laying out of a village on some eligible spot within the limits of the Nazareth domain. It was to be like unto the Moravian village in Germany. Bishop Spangenberg accordingly selected, and had surveyed into a town plot; a parcel of one hundred and sixty acres, adjacent to the Northern boundary of the modern borough of Nazareth. The survey was actually commenced on the third day of January, 1752, preparations were made looking to the erection of dwellings on the opening of spring, and the name Gnadenstadt-"The City of Grace"- was given to the projected town. On January 10th Bro. Nathaniel Seidel escorted the masons and carpenters, forty hands in all, from Bethlehem to Christian's Spring. They were received at Nazareth with sound of trumpets as a welcome. The masons were led to the stone quarry and the carpenters began to fell trees. At an early date a small log house was completed on the site of the new town, and then the further building of Gnadenstadt was indefinitely postponed. The inhabitants of Nazareth, whom it was proposed to transfer thither, were not willing to give up the poetry and freedom of an Economy for the prose and restrictions of a Municipium. The small log house stood vacant until in May, 1760, when it was occupied by John George Claus, a native of Alsace, and Mary Catharine, m. n. Kuehn, his wife. In the Autumn of 1761 Gottleib Demuth, from Radelsdorf, Bohemia (sometime an inhabitant of Georgia), took up a lot a quarter of a mile south from the Inn and blocked up a house. In this way the building of Gnadenstadt was gradually resumed and the place grew; but in June, 1762, it received the name of Shoeneck, i.e. "Pretty Corner", and so it continued.
One other building was originally erected, a rather imposing looking frame mansion of two stories, our Inn, and as it was the first house of entertainment for the "Tract" or "The Harmony", as it was called, its erection deserves more minute mention.
On February 2d, 1752, John Jacob Loesch and Carl Shultze, residents of Bethlehem, were instructed by the authorities "to draft an Inn or Tavern House, such as would be suitable to erect behind Nazareth for the conveniency of the workmen of Gnadenstadt and also for the entertainment of strangers, said house to be thirty-five by thirty feet, to be furthermore quartered, brick-nogged and snugly weather-boarded, with a yard looking North and a garden South." A site for this important accessory was selected on a tract of two hundred and forty-one acres of land, which had been surveyed to the Moravians some times previous by Nicholas Scull, and which touched the head line of the Barony. Here the Inn was staked off, its cellar dug deep down into the cool slate, and on March 27th the first stone of the foundation laid by Bishop Spangenberg, assisted by Warden Schropp, of Nazareth, Gottleib Pezold, of Bethlehem, and others. Although work was carried on as actively as possible, yet it was autumn before the caravansary was completed. It contained seven rooms, one kitchen and a cellar. Subsequently a stable of stone, thirty-two by twenty-six feet, and a spring house of logs were built. It was first occupied on September 15th, by John Frederic Schaub, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, a cooper, and Divert Mary, his wife, who covenanted to discharge the duties of a landlord blamelessly in consideration of the payment unto him annually of £10, lawful money of Pennsylvania. Standing as it did on the great Minisink road that, since 1746, led from the farms and settlements dotting both shores of the Upper Delaware down to the populous portions of the Counties and to the great Capital itself, its portals soon opened to many a weary traveler who speedily found rest and good cheer within. It was on August 6th, 1754, during their incumbency, that the sign was charged with a full blown scarlet rose. Hence, and ever afterwards, the house was known as "Der Gasthof zur Rose" - Die Rose - The Rose. Rev. Reichel very pleasantly says "Now this floral appellation was bestowed upon the lonely hospice not because its surcoat was dyed deep in Spanish red, not because it was hoped that in its presence the surrounding wilderness of scrub-oak and stunted pines would blossom like the queen of flowers, but in order to keep in lively remembrance a point of history - in so far as when John Penn, Thomas Penn, and Richard Penn released to Letitia Aubrey of London, their half-sister, gentlewoman, the five thousand acres of land that had been confirmed to his trusty friend, Sir John Fagg, for her sole use and behoof, by William Penn, Sr., late Proprietary and Chief Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania, by the name of William Penn, of Worminghurst, in the County of Sussex, Esquire, it was done on the condition of her yielding and paying therefore ONE RED ROSE on the 24th day of June, yearly, if the same should be demanded, in full for all services, customs and rents
Schaub, his wife and son Johnny, the first child of white parents born at Nazareth, bade a reluctant farewell to "The Rose" on August 14th, 1754. John Nicholas Weinland, his successor, mentioned in connection with Gnadenthal, administered its concerns until the 11th day of December following. So it came to pass that the fury of the Indian War fell upon its neighborhood during the incumbency of Albrecht Klotz, last from Tulpehocken, but a native of Hohenlohe, in the Lower Palatinate, blacksmith, and Ann Margaret, m. n. Rieth, his wife, born in Scoharie, a daughter of old Michael Rieth. Associated with them were Christian Stotz, from Laufen, Wurtemburg, farmer, and Ann, m. n. Herr, his wife (they with three children had immigrated to the Province in 1750), last from Gnadenthal. They came in April, 1755, and attended to the farming. Joseph, a negro from the Gold Coast, who since March 5th, 1753, had been acting as hostler, returned to Bethlehem, with his Indian wife Charity, at this critical period.
On November 1st, 1755, sixty thousand people perished at Lisbon, Portugal in the great earthquake. A curious and interesting extract from the Moravian chronicles, over which scientists may puzzle if they see fit, states that in the early morning of the 18th of said month there was heard on the Barony, with a star-lit sky overhead, a sound as of a rushing wind and of the booming of distant siege guns, and whilst the sleepers in their beds at the Inn rocked, as do mariners in hammocks out at sea, lo! the doors in "The Rose" swung on their hinges and stood open.
The part taken by our hostelrie in the Indian War was of a peculiar and two-fold nature. In the first place it was par excellence a "house of refuge". At the northern and most advanced point of the Barony and on the high road communicating with the devastated regions, it became the gateway which admitted the harassed sufferer and those he loved to safety. On the other hand it was through this same gate the soldiers marched to protect their friends and repel the invader, and it was here they found for a while a comfortable resting place, either when on their way to the front or upon their return from the scene of hostilities. It was but seldom its doors did not resound to the knock of the refugee, and possibly even less seldom they did not open to admit bodies of armed men. Indeed its position of importance as a public house and, in addition, as an outpost of the Barony, demanded the frequent presence of a guard. When, on rare occasions, it did not shelter detachments of Provincial troops, brethren from Christian's Spring were detailed in time of need for that duty. So then besides being "a house of refuge" it was indeed "a fort."
On November 25th, 1755, upwards of sixty terrified men, women and children from the districts on the north adjacent to the Barony, thronged through the doorway of the Moravian Inn, clamorous for shelter and for protection from the murdering Indians. Among them were the Clevels, from the banks of the romantic Bushkill, the Stechers (whose seedling apple is in high esteem to this day), the Germantons, the Koehlers, the Klaeses, and the Kostenboders, all from the plains of upper Northampton. By December 17th, 1755, according to an official enumeration, there were two hundred refugees billeted at Nazareth and in the Ephrata House, and one hundred at the other settlements on the tract. On January 29th following, as previously mentioned, there were 253 at Nazareth and 196 at the other settlements, of which 226 were children. At this time 21 were quartered at the "Rose". It was as promiscuous an assemblage as ever had been gathered in so short a time, embracing, as it did, men of divers nationalities and creeds and women of divers tongues. There were the Eisenmanns, the Geislys, the Hecks, the Hesses, the Heisses, the Heimans, the Hoffmans, the Hueds or Huths, the Kunkles, the Schielses, the Serfases, the Sylvases, and the Weisers, all from Contented valley; the Culvers and the Jonses from McMichael's creek, the Brewsters, the Countrymans, and the Hillmans, from Dansbury - and many others.
Its occupation as a military post covered the interval, especially, between November 26th, 1755, and February 20th, 1756, a most trying period of the hostilities. On the evening of November 26th a company of Saucon rangers, under command of Capt. Laubach (the Laubachs were settled, prior to 1740, on a branch of the Saucon creek, called Laubach's creek to this day) halted at the Inn, lit their camp fires in the orchard, and bivouacked for the night. Having scoured the neighboring woods next day to no purpose, on their return to "The Rose" there came intelligence of the enemy's presence in the gap in the mountain, whereupon they broke up camp at dusk, and, by the friendly light of the full moon, set out in pursuit. Meanwhile, two detachments of mounted men had arrived. These, however, failed to recognize any necessity for their presence and so, after having dined, departed. On December 14th, Captain Jennings and Doll, at the head of their respective command, passed "The Rose" en route for the scene of the late disaster at Hoeth's, under orders to search for and bury the dead. Five days later, on their return from this dangerous duty, they posted Lieut. Brown, with 18 men at the Inn, for the defense of the Moravian Settlements; and well it was they did so, for that very night there were indications of savages lurking within gunshot of its doors. Captain Jennings was the same Solomon Jennings, who, at sunrise on September 19th, 1737, set out with Edward Marshall and James Yeates from John Chapman's corner at Wrightstown, to walk for a wager and to walk off the land for the Penns; but who, on arriving at a point two miles north of the Tohickon, about eleven o'clock the same morning, desisted from the contest. Falling back into the curious crowd that followed in the wake of the walkers, Jennings parted company at the Forks of Lehigh (at the head of the Bethlehem Iron company's island) and struck into the path that led to his farm, situate about two miles higher up on the right bank of the river. Here he died, February 17th, 1757.
On December 21st, Capt. Craig, with a detachment of Ulster-Scots, from their seats on the Monocasy and the springs of Callsucks, arrived in order to assure himself of the safety of his Moravian neighbors, who, it was rumored, had been cut off by the enemy. Next followed Capt. Trump and Capt. Ashton, with their Companies of Provincials. From the seat of Justice in a remote corner of the county hard by the Jerseys, their destination being Smithfield and their errand the erection of a blockhouse within its limits. This was on December 26th, and the last movement of the military past "The Rose" in the year 1755.
In the first month of 1756, however, in the halls of the hostelrie again echoed to the tramp of martial feet, and perhaps never more loudly than during the occupation of the Nazareth tract by Capt. Isaac Wayne, of Franklin's command, in the interval between January 5th and 15th. In the ensuing weeks there was constant intercourse between Nazareth and the men of war in Smithfield, detachments of Trump's men coming down from Fort Hamilton to convey supplies of bread, baked at stated periods in the large family oven on the Barony, to their hungry comrades. But on February 17th our good landlord, Albrecht Klotz, was perhaps more sorely tried than on any previous occasion, when he was obliged to billet sixty soldiers who were clamoring for bed and board at the already crowded Inn. The following entries from the accounts of the Tavern are very interesting:
1756 - Jan'y 26 - To Smithy at Christian's Spring for sundry work - £3. 3
Feb. 5 - To meals furnished Capt. Ashton's company - £1. 4
Feb. 14 - To 25 men's eating and drinking in command of Lieut. Anthony Miller - £1. 10
Feb. 18 - To 31 men's breakfast of Capt. Trump's company - £0. 15. 6
Feb. 19 - To meals furnished Capt. Arndt's company, in command of Ensign Nicholas Conrad - £1. 10
Feb. 19 - To meals and drams furnished Capt. Wetherhold's company - £0. 15
Feb. 23 - To 700 lbs bread delivered to Capt. W. Craig in Nazareth - £4. 7. 6
March 26--To 200 lbs bread delivered in Nazareth to Capt. Wetherhold - £1. 5.
TOTAL £14. 10
Gottleib Senseman was baker-general at Nazareth.
After this the presence of the military at "The Rose" became less frequent, and gradually, though not uninterruptedly, its history's stream returned into its former more peaceful channel. Were it a part of this work it would be interesting to mention its remaining landlords and tell somewhat about them, as well as to dwell on a few of those who enjoyed its hospitality. The only remaining occurrence, however, which admits of notice was the visit on September 18th and 19th, 1757, of Jacob Volck, Lewis Jung and three Indians who had been sent by Teedyuscung to Joseph Kellar's place, the capture of whose wife near Tead's Blockhouse on September 16th, has been given under that head, to see, if any of his liege subjects were implicated in that outrage. This was under the incumbency of Hartmann Verdriers, the fifth landlord, and his wife Catharine, m. n. Bender, who occupied it August 20th, 1756.
After various further alarms and guard mountings, various visits of Indians and authorities of the Province during the efforts made to bring about a treaty of peace, and various vicissitudes, incident to all similar buildings, it finally came into the hands of its last landlord, John Lischer, who, with his wife Mary Catharine, administered its affairs from April 20th, 1765, until March 30th, 1772. With his retirement it ceased to be an inn, having been sold in 1771 to Dorst Alteman, a native of the Canton of Berne, Switzerland, but prior to 1761 an inhabitant of Lancaster county. It then passed through various hands until the spring of 1858, when the old hostelrie was doomed to destruction. Its chimneys were torn down, its roof was removed, its floors torn up. Some of the boards which survived the wreck were used to cover the gables of the tenant house which then stood on its site. Rev. Reichel says they were "the sole remaining, but alas! withered leaves shed from the Red Rose that once bloomed on the Barony of Nazareth."
View of Stroudsburg in 1842, Showing Site of Fort Hamilton.
Already in the course of these records we have come across the name "Minisink." We have now reached the Delaware river, in the vicinity of the present town of Stroudsburg, not then, however, in existence. It was this territory which the Minisink, or Monsey tribe of Indians occupied, from whom it derived its name, a name later adopted by the Dutch who first settled there, and in common use at the time of the Indian hostilities.
In the history of Fort Norris we read of the murder of the Hoeth family in the early part of December, 1775. This family lived on the Poco Poco or, as now called, Big creek, not far distant from where that fort was built shortly after. From thence the savages proceeded to Broadhead's place where they met with a stout resistance. This family lived on or near the creek now bearing their name, probably not far from its mouth and in the general vicinity of where Stroudsburg now stands. These were the first depredations committed in that locality. At once all was alarm and every heart stricken with terror. The country was immediately filled with settlers fleeing for refuge to the more thickly populated districts south of the mountain.
James Hamilton and Benj. Franklin, the commissioners appointed by the Governor to systematize the defences of this part of the Province, arrived at Easton on December 23d. The following letter written by the former to Governor Morris well describes the lamentable condition of affairs:
Easton, Monday Evening, Dec'r 25,1755.
The Commissioners came to this Town on Saturday Evening, where we found the Country under the greatest Consternation, everything that has been said of the distress of the Inhabitants, more than verified upon our own view. The Country along the River is absolutely deserted from this place to Broadhead's, nor can there be the least communication between us and them but by large Parties of armed Men, every body being afraid to venture without that security, so that we have had no accounts from thence for several days. Broadhead's was stoutly defended by his sons and others, till the Indians thought fit to retire without being able to take it, or set it on fire, tho' they frequently attempted it, it is thought several of them were killed in the attacks, but that is not known with certainty.
We have now here upward of 100 men, being the Companies of Capt'n Aston, Captain Trump, and Capt'n McGlaughlin, and are impatiently expecting more from below, for the people here are not very numerous, & are besides very backward in entering into the Service, tho' the Encouragement is great, and one would think they would gladly embrace the opportunity of revenging themselves on the authors of their ruin; but the terror that has seized them, is so great, or their Spirits so small, that unless men come from other parts of the Province I despair of getting such a number here as will be sufficient to Garrison the Block Houses we propose to build over the Hills, whither we intended to have gone tomorrow, but that our Provision Waggons are not come up, and that we have not men enough for the above mentioned purposes.
I understand that Aaron Dupui is still at home & that it is very unlikely that he will be able to leave his House in this time of Distress, to carry your Message to Wyoming, so that I believe the Expectations of the Treaty will fall to the Ground, nor does any body either here or there believe we have a single Indian that may be called a Friend, nor do I see a possibility of getting that Message conveyed to them from hence, even supposing they were friends; everybody is so afraid of stirring a step without a strong guard.
I heartily wish you were at Liberty to declare Warr against them, and offer large rewards for Scalps, which appears the only way to clear our Frontiers of those Savages, & will, I am persuaded be infinitely cheapest in the end; For I clearly foresee the expense of defending ourselves, in the way we are in will ruin the province, and be far from effectual at last, principally for want of a Good Militia Law by which the men might be subjected to discipline, for at present they enter themselves and then leave their Captains at their own humour, without a person in the officers to punish them for that or any other Misbehaviour.
I have Commissioned several Captains here, who engage to raise men, but principally two, who have undertaken to range the Country between the two Branches of this River, for the Security of the two Irish Settlements in hopes that those who had defected by the whole of those on the main Branch, may be induced to return to their Plantations, which after all I very much question, so very great are their apprehensions of the Indians.
I cannot say for certain when we shall leave this place, that depending on the coming up of the Provisions and our getting a sufficient number of men; Many of those already here not being able to march for want of shoes, which has obliged us to send down for a Supply to Philadelphia.
I have but a moments time to write, the Express being ready to depart. I shall from time to time keep you informed of anything that may be worth your notice, but at present nothing offers.
I am, with great Respect, Sir, Your most obed't Servant,
JAMES HAMILTON. (Col. Rec., vi, p. 764.)
We can readily imagine how little of Christmas joy and festivity fell to the lot of the good people of Northampton county in the year of our Lord 1755. Chaos reigned almost supreme. The Governor was nearly deluged with advice, much of it good, but which, unfortunately, could not be carried out. Some progress, however, was made by the Commissioners. Mr. Hamilton seems to have given special attention to the defences on the Delaware at the Minisinks, which were the first undertaken, possibly because there the first blow of the enemy had fallen. Immediately after his letter to the Governor on Christmas, Captains Trump and Ashton were dispatched to the place where Stroudsburg now stands and directed to erect the first of the line of forts then contemplated. The work, however, progressed slowly, partly because of a lack of tools which the people in the neighborhood failed to supply as had been expected, and partly because of the season of the year. On January 14th, 1756, Benj. Franklin writes to the Governor from Bethlehem, "The day after my arrival here I sent off two wagons loaded with bread and some axes for Trump and Aston." These were escorted to Nazareth by Lieut. Davis and 20 men of McLaughlin's Company, where Capt. Wayne, with his fresh troops took charge of the convoy and escorted it to its destination. Capt. Wayne later reported to Franklin that Capt. Trump expected to finish his work about the 20th of January. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 549.) Whether completed exactly on the day named or not we cannot say, but we can confidently give it as the approximate time when this first defence was finished. It was named Fort Hamilton after our friend James Hamilton, actively connected with its erection and later Governor of the Province, succeeding Governor Denny as such, his commission being dated July 19, 1759, although not presented by him to Council until November 17th of the same year.
The enemy were constantly on the alert, and, even during the building of the fort, the soldiers had not only the seasons to contend against, but the savages as well. On January 15th a company of refugees at Bethlehem returned across the mountain to look after their farms and cattle. Although escorted by soldiers, they fell into the hands of the Indians near Schupp's Mill and all suffered death save one, Adam Hold, who escaped with a severe flesh wound in the arm. The killed numbered four farmers and four privates of Capt. Trump's company at Fort Hamilton. About the same time one Mulhausen, a Palatine, while breaking flax on the farm of Philip Bossert in Lower Smithfield, was shot through the body by an unseen Indian, which wound proved fatal. One of Bossert's sons running out of the house on hearing the report of the gun, was also shot in several places and killed. Hereupon old Philip, himself, appearing on the scene of action exchanged shots with the enemy, inflicting and receiving a wound, but might not have escaped so easily but for the timely arrival of some neighbors and consequent retreat of the enemy.
It was not intended that Capt. Trump should remain permanently at Fort Hamilton, and, upon its completion, we find that he is ordered to commence the erection of Fort Norris. He appears to have been succeeded by Capt. Craig, of the Irish Settlement, who is reported on duty April 20th, 1756, at Fort Hamilton, with 41 men. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 325 - date incorrectly given 1758.)
Commissary James Young, while inspecting the forts in that same year, makes the following report concerning Fort Hamilton:
June 23, 1756 - At 3 P. M. we sett out from Fort Noris on our way to Fort Hamilton. At 6 P.M. we came to Philip Bosarts a Farmer, 12 miles from Fort Noris, here we Stayed all Night, on our way to this house the road very hilly and Barran, past by three Plantations Deserted and the houses Burnt down, in Bossart's house are 6 Families from other Plantations.
24 June, Fort Hamilton. - At 4 A.M. sett out from Basarts, at 6 Came to Fort Hamilton at ab't 7 miles from Bosarts, a Good Waggon road, and the Land better than any I had seen on the N'o side of the Mountain. Fort Hamilton stands in a Corn field by It Farm house in a Plain and Clear Country, it is a Square with 4 half Bastions all very Ill Contriv'd and finish'd, the Staccades open 6 inches in many Places, and not firm in the ground, and may be easily pull'd down, before the gate are some Staccades drove in the Ground to Cover it which I think might be a great Shelter to an Enemy, I therefore order'd to pull them down, I also order'd to fill up the other Staccades where open. Provincial Stores: 1 Wall Piece, 14 G'd Muskets, 4 wants Repair, 16 Cartootch Boxes, filled with Powder and Lead, 28 lb Powder, 30 lb. Lead, 10 Axes, 1 Broad Axe, 26 Tomahauks, 28 Blankets, 3 Drawing Knives, 3 Splitting Knives, 2 Adses, 2 Saws, 1 Brass Kettle.
I found here a Lieu't and Eight men, 7 were gone to Easton with a Prisoner Deserter from Gen. Shirley's Reg't. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 679.)
The corn field in which Fort Hamilton then stood is now in the western section of the town of Stroudsburg. Through the kindness of Rev. Theo. Heilig, an old resident of that place, who lived in the Stroud mansion, I am now able to furnish herewith the map showing its exact location.
Stroudsburg in 1842, Showing Site of Fort Hamilton.
Fort Hamilton was not considered a post of especial importance. Whilst it is true, geographically considered, its position was most important, yet it actually stood in a more or less sparsely settled district. The sudden outbreak of hostilities in that vicinity caused an excitement which resulted not only in its immediate erection, but also in the building of Fort Hyndshaw but a few miles distant, as well as the occupation by a garrison of Dupui's house, likewise in its immediate vicinity. As the necessity for this extra force and precaution passed away, to a great extent, so we see a curtailment in the number of troops on duty. How long Capt. Craig remained there we do not know. There are no records to indicate whether he had command of Fort Hamilton in the beginning of April, 1757, or whether Capt. Nicholas Wetterholt had then charge of it. We are merely told by Major Parsons that, on October 11th, 1756, he sent to that garrison 50 lbs of powder and 100 lbs of lead. However, we learn from the journal of Capt. John Van Etten (to be given in full under Fort Hyndshaw), who had then command of Fort Hyndshaw, that he was in addition to assume control of Fort Hamilton. His orders, from Col. Weiser, were dated March 28, 1757, and received by him April 7th. In accordance therewith, on April 8th he took possession with a detachment of 16 men, the company then occupying it marching out and leaving it in his care. His diary continues until July 22,1757, at which time the same condition of affairs exists, although for a while matters got somewhat mixed up owing to the fact that both the Governor and Col. Weiser had issued orders of diverse nature on the same point, whereby Lieut. Hyndshaw, then of Capt. Nicholas Wetterholt's company, claimed command of Fort Hamilton. A personal visit of Col. Weiser, however, straightened out the tangled skein and left Capt Van Etten in charge.
With the entry of July 21st, 1757, Capt Van Etten's journal ends somewhat abruptly. Whether the remainder has been lost, or whether a change of some character took place it is difficult to say. I am inclined to believe the latter and that Capt. Van Etten left the service, as we hear nothing more of him until in the Revolutionary war when he commanded a company of the Northampton county militia, and also because on October 11th, 1757, we find a letter from Lieut. James Hyndshaw to Gov. Denny, probably written from Fort Hamilton, in which he says, "I beg leave to Acquaint your Honour I have now in my Company Seventy-two Men, Several of which is yet on the one Year's Enlistment, and of the Company of the late Capt. Van Etten, and many of them has had no pay this Ten Months, and several of them not fit for the three Years' Enlistment, and to discharge them without paying them off seemeth hard."
He then goes on to explain the insufficiency of their supplies, the daily depredations of the savages, &c., and asks for better equipment. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 290.)
Gradually the fort seems to have become abandoned. James Burd turned aside to at it during his tour of March, 1758. He says:
March 2'd, Thursday.
Marched from hence (Teed's Block House near Wind Gap) at 9 A. M. for Mr. Samuell Depews, went by the way of Fort Hamilton to view that place, arrived at Fort Hamilton at 2 P. M., viewed it and found it a very poor stockade, with one large house in the middle of it & some familys living in it. This is 15 miles from Tead's. (Penn, Arch., iii, p. 356.)
At various times different plans were formulated for conducting the war and bringing it to a speedy termination. It had long been felt that the troops were too much scattered, and that too many insignificant stations and buildings were occupied by small garrisons. In April, 1757, it was therefore determined to concentrate the soldiers. Three forts were geographically selected as principal stations, - Fort Henry between the Susquehanna and Schuylkill, Fort Allen on the Lehigh, and Fort Hamilton near the Delaware at the extreme eastern point. It was proposed to garrison each of these with one hundred men and abandon the remainder. The other troops were then to wage aggressive warfare against the enemy. This program, however excellent, could not be carried out. Had it been, Fort Hamilton might have occupied a more prominent niche in the early history of our State.
When the Delaware tribe, following the example of their other brethren, threw their lot in with the French, the Indians living at the Minisinks joined the other hostiles who were rendezvousing on the Susquehanna. From thence, Diahogo, Wyoming, &c., constant inroads were made on the settlements by scalping parties, varying in size from four or five to fifteen or twenty. Naturally those living near by were the greatest sufferers, and we have been given some slight idea of the horrible depredations committed in Lebanon, Berks and Lehigh counties. Northampton county, however, was by no means exempt, and various bands of savages penetrated the country north of the Blue mountains even to the Delaware river. Therefore, as an outpost to protect the thickly populated regions to the south, as well as the farmers residing in its vicinity, Fort Hamilton was of great importance.
Naturally the Minisink Indians headed for their own locality and, as we have already seen, the first blow struck was against the Hoeth and Brodhead families, living not distant from where Forts Norris and Hamilton were afterwards built. This was speedily followed by an attack on the house of Henry Hess, the following details of which are given in an examination of Henry Hess, a nephew, aged nineteen years, who was brought back by the Indians during the Conference at Easton in November, 1756:
"This Examinant saith that on New Years day last (1756) he was at his Unckles, Henry Hess's Plantation in the said Township of Lower Smithfield, and that his Father, Peter Hess, Nicholas Coleman, and one Gotlieb, a laborer, were there likewise. That about nine o'clock in the morning they were surprised by a party of Twenty-Five Indians, headed by Teedyuscung, among whom were several of those now in Town [at the Conference, Nov'r 1756, at Easton] viz, Peter Harrison, Samuel Evans, Christian, Tom Evans, that they killed the said Nicholas Coleman and Gotlieb, and took his Father & himself Prisoners, set fire to the Stable, hunted up the horses and took three of them. Then the Indians went over the second Blue Mountains, and overtook five Indians with two Prisoners, Leonard and William Weeser (see testimony of Leonard Weeser under Fort Allen], and a little after this they killed this Examinant's Father, Peter Hess, in his presence, scalped him and took off all his cloaths. The Indians who were thirty in number in ye evening before it was dark, stopped & kindled a Fire in the woods, first tying him and the two Weesers with ropes and fastening them to a tree, in which manner they remained all night, Tho' it was extremely cold, the coldest night as He thinks in this whole year. Some or other of the Indians were awake all night, it being as they said too cold to sleep. They seemed to be under no apprehension of being pursued, for they set no watch. As soon as day broke they set off traveling but slowly, and the next day they came to Wyomish, an Indian town on the Susquehannah, and finding no Indians there, this Examinant understanding afterwards that the Indians who used to live there had removed to Taconnich for fear of being attacked, they proceeded on their journey & came the next day to the Town where were about one hundred Indians, men, women & children. This Examinant further saith, that after the severe weather was abated, all the Indians quitted Taconnich and removed to Diahogo, distant as he thinks fifty miles, situate at the mouth of the Cayuga Branch, where they staid till Planting time, and then some of them went to a place up the Cayuga Branch near its head, called Little Shingle, where they planted corn, and lived there till they set off for this Treaty. During this Examinants stay with them small parties of five or six Warriors went to War, and returned with some Scalps & Prisoners which they said they had taken at Allemingle and Minisinks. This Examinant says further that they would frequently say in their discourses all the country of Pennsylvania did belong to them, & the Governors were always buying their lands from them but did not pay them for it. That Teedyuscung was frequently in conversation with a Negro man a Runaway, whose Master lived some where above Samuel Depuys, and he overheard Teedyuscung advising him to go among the Inhabitants, & talk with the negros, & persuade them to kill their Masters, which if they would do he would be in the woods ready to receive any negros y't would murder their Masters & they might live well with the Indians. This Examinant saith, that he saw some English Prisoners at different places up the Cayuga Branch, and particularly one Hunt, a Boy, as he thinks, of fifteen or sixteen years, who was taken near Paulins Kiln in Jersey, that he had not seen him after Teedyuscung's Return to Diahogo on his first journey."
HENRY HESS. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 56.)
In August, 1756, Major Parsons notified Gov'r Morris that Ben, a friendly Indian, had discovered the tracks of about 20 strange Indians coming from the Susquehannah and going towards Minisinks, who were evidently on a hostile errand from the manner of their marching. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 746.)
On November 30, 1756, in the evening, Ephraim Coulver, a tavern-keeper opposite Bethlehem, notified Timothy Horsfield, that Nicodemus, a friendly Indian, had informed him that a young Indian, who was at the tavern, had something very particular to say concerning the Indians where he came from. He was at once summoned the next day, and gave the following testimony:
"Akoan, a Mahikander, says that he went in Company with Three other Indians to Wyoming, and stay'd there one Day: he says further that be heard some Indians on the Susquehannah were starved to Death for want of Victuals, and he thought, what shall I do there; I will return again to the white People; accordingly he returned alone; about half way from Wyoming to Fort Allen, he met with Four Shawanese Indians, who related to him that Armstrong, the Indian, with Five other Indians, was gone to the left Hand, from there towards the little Schuylkill, to kill the White People, and that also Four Minisink Indians were gone towards Broadhead's or Minisink, all painted, and white Feathers on their Heads. The same Day, in the Evening, he came to Nathaniel's hunting Hutt, about sixteen miles from Fort Allen; there he found an Indian sitting at a Fire; the Indian gave him some Flower, and said, 'bake thee Bread and eat!' When Akoan bad made his Bread, there came Six Indians, dressed in their Warlike Manner, that was Armstrong and his Company; they placed themselves round the Fire, and Akoan gave them share of his Bread; one of the Six Indians, a Shawanese, opened his Bundle and gave Akoan a Piece of Tallow, and on being asked where he got it, the Indian told him they had killed a Cow near Fort Allen, and also a Horse, because they could not catch it, and he shewed him the Bell the Horse had on.
After a while the same Indian said to Akoan, 'We have been at the Little Schuylkill, about the White People, to do some Mischief, but the snow (it was half Leg deep at that Place) has hindered us, being afraid to be discovered, therefore we will go to the Minisink Town on the Susquehanah and secure our goods, and then we will return to the Inhabitants about the Wind Gap and Minisink, and get Six or Seven Scalps, and if possible, take some alive, and therewith we will go to the French and rejoice them with the Scalps, and will stay awhile with them.
These Indians would fain have had Akoan go with them but he would not."
(Col. Rec., vii, p. 357.)
After the threatening alarms came the dread reality. In April, 1757, the Indians made another inroad on the Minisink region, and left behind them, when they fled, the usual trail of blood and scenes of misery. But we will leave the recital of the tragedy to an eye witness.
Deposition of Michael Roup.
The 24th day of April, one thousand, seven Hundred and Fifty Seven, appeared before me, William Parsons, Esquire, one of His Majestys Justices of the Peace for the County of Northampton, Michael Roup, of Lower Smithfield, in the said County, aged 52 Years, a Person to me well known and worthy of Credit, and being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, did depose and declare, That His Neighbour, Philip Bozart, being at Fort Norris last Saturday week, heard a letter read there, which was dispatched by Major Parsons to acquaint the Garrison that he had receiv'd Information that some Enemy Indians intended shortly to come and attack the inhabitants at and about Minisink and to desire them to be upon their Guard; which was soon made known to all the Neighboring Inhabitants, And this Deponent further saith, That on Friday Morning last John Lefever, passing by the Houses of Philip Bozart and this Deponent, informed them that the Indians had murder'd Casper Gundryman last Wednesday Evening; Whereupon This Deponent went immediately to the House of Philip Bozart to consult what was best to be done. Their House being about half a Mile apart. That they concluded it best for the Neighbors to collect themselves together, as many as they could in some one House. And this Deponent further saith, that he immediately returned home and loaded his Waggon as fast as he cou'd with his most valuable Effects which he carried to Bozart's house. That as soon as he had unloaded his Waggon he drove to his Son-in-Law Peter Soan's House, about Two Miles, and loaded as much of his Effects as the time and hurry wou'd admit, and took them also to Bozart's, where 9 families were retired; That a great Number of the Inhabitants were also retired to the Houses of Conrad Bitterbender & John McDowel; That Bozart's House is 7 Miles from Fort Hamilton and 12 from Fort Norris. And this Deponent further saith, that yesterday Morning about 9 o'clock, the said Peter Soan and Christian Klein with his Daughter about 13 Years of age went from Bozart's House to the House of the said Klein and thence to Soan's House to look after their Cattle and to bring off more effects. And this Deponent further saith, That about a half an hour after the above 3 Persons were gone from Bozart's House, a certain George Hartlieb, who also fled with his family to Bozart's and who had been at his own Houseabout a Mile from Soan's, to look after his Creatures and to bring away what he cou'd, returned to Bozart's and reported that he had heard 3 guns fired very quick one after the other towards Soan's Place w'ch made them all conclude the above 3 Persons were killed by the Indians. And this Deponent further saith, That their little Company were afraid to venture to go and see what had happened that Day, as they had many Women and Children to take Care of, who if they had left might have fallen an easy Prey to the enemy. And this Deponent further saith, That this Morning 9 Men of the Neighborhood armed themselves, as well as they cou'd, and went towards Peter Soan's Place, in order to discover what was become of the above 3 Persons. That when they came within about 300 yards of the House, they found the Bodies of the said Soan and Klein lying about 20 Feet from each other, killed and scalpt, but did not find Klein's Daughter. Soan was killed by a Bullet which enter'd the upper Part of his Back and came out at his Breast. Klein was killed with their tomahawks. The 9 men immediately returned to Bozart's and reported as above. That this Deponent was not one of the 9, but that he remained at Bozart's with the Women and Children. That the rest of the People desired this Deponent to come to Easton and acquaint the Justice with what had happened. That the 9 men did not think it safe to stay to bury the Dead. And further this Deponent saith not.
The mark of MICHAEL W ROUP. (Col. Rec., vii, p. 493.)
In the above deposition mention was made of the murder of Casper Gundryman. The name undoubtedly was intended for Andreas Gundryman, of whose death John Williamson gives this account.
Deposition of John Williamson
On the Twenty-Second Day of April A'o D'i 1757, Personally appeared before me, William Parsons, Esquire, one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Northampton, John Williamson of Lower Smithfield Township, in the said Comity, Yeoman, aged 48 Years, And being duly Sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God, did Depose and Declare. That on Wednesday last, the 20th Instant, about Sun Sett, a certain Andreas Gundryman, a Youth about 17 Years of Age, went with two Horses and a Sleigh to fetch some Fire Wood, that lay about 80 perches from Fort Hamilton, to his Father's House, ab't 10 perches from the Fort. That while the Young Man was out as aforesaid, He this Deponent and Several other Persons, who all live about 10 perches from the Fort, heard two Guns fired; Whereupon, Henry Gundryman (Father of the above named Andreas) and Conrad Friedenberg, one of the Garrison at Fort Hamilton, ran immediately upon hearing the Fireing towards the Place where Andreas was gone for the Fire Wood; some of the Soldiers and other Persons hearing him cry out, and seeing him run down the Hill towards the Fort. And this Dep't further saith, that about 300 Yards from this Fort, they found the said Andreas Gundryman lying dead, and scalp'd quite to the Eyes. And this Deponent further saith, that he saw two Indians run up the Hill, from the place where Andreas lay dead. That the Indians did not hitt him with their Shott but as soon as they fired Andreas ran, and they pursued him with their Tomhocks and murdered him very barbarously, and as they went off sett up the Indian War Hallow. And this Deponent further saith, that early on the next Morning the Father of the Deceased, with James Garlanhouse and one of the Soldiers, went and fetch'd the Corps, and the Garrison and Neighbors burried it about 30 perches from the Fort. And this Deponant further saith, that a certain Isaac Randolph, a Soldier, being sent the same Ev'ning the Murder was committed to Acquaint Capt. Van Etten, at Fort Hyndshaw, of what had happen'd, return'd to Fort Hamilton and reported that in his Way he had seen 6 Indians by a Fire, & ab' half way to Samuel Dupui's, which made him afraid to proceed further, and therefore be returned and reported as above. And this Deponant further saith, that he this Deponant that same Night went up to Fort Hyndshaw and acquainted Capt. Van Etten of what had happened, but saw no Indians in his Journey. And this Dep't further saith that the said Robert Ellis came to Fort Hamilton on Thursday Morning, and reported that he had seen 3 Indians that same Morning by a Fire on his Plantation, And when the Indians discovered him they left the Fire and went up a Hill. And this Deponant further saith, that Cap't Van Etten came on Thursday Morning with as many Soldiers as could be spared from Fort Hyndshaw to Fort Hamilton and assisted at the Burial. And this Deponant further saith not.
Sworn at Easton, in the County of Northampton, the Day and Year above s'd.
W'M PARSONS. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 139.)
Captain Van Etten, with his weakened and divided forces, the responsibility of guarding two forts resting upon him, was certainly in a quandary. He immediately reported the sad Occurrence to Major Parsons as follows:
I am Sorry to Inform you of What happened Sins I Sa you Last on the 20 Day of this Instant, after I came to Fort Hamelton, about two o'Clock, & as I made all the hast I Could to Fort Hyndshaw, about one o'Clock at Night an Express Came to me that a man Was Kiled and Scalped at Fort Harnelton, which I found to be tru, & had the man buried the 21 of this Instant; pray, Sir, Consider my affairs as I am but Weake Now & all the Neighbours about the fort is mounted in the fort, Which I Compel'd to Stan Sentriey Next the Soldiers, tel further orders; pray, Sir, Excuse hast.
Sir, I Remain your
friend and humble
CAPT. JOHN VAN ETTEN. Fort Hamelton, 21 Apr., 1757. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 139.)
Unfortunately this did not end the tragic chapter of depredations committed by the party of Indians then on their scalping expedition. On June 27th, 1757, George Ebert made the following deposition before Squire and also Major Parsons, at Easton:
"Personally appeared before me, William Parsons, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Northampton, George Ebert (Son of John Ebert, late of Plainfield Township, in the said County, Yeoman, but now of Easton in the same County), aged Sixteen Years, and being duly sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and declareth That on or about the Second Day of May last, He, this Deponant, with about Eighteen armed men, went with Two Waggons from Plainfield Township, to assist the Inhabitants of Lower Smithfield, who had a few days before been attacked by the Enemy Indians (and some of the Neighborhood murdered by the Savages) to bring off some of their best Effects. That about Noon of the same Day, they came to the House of Conrad Bittenbender, to which house divers of the Neighbours had fled; here one of the Waggons with about Ten Men, with this Deponant, halted to load their Waggon with the poor People's Effects; and the rest of the Company with the other Waggon went forward about a Mile, to the House of Philip Bozart, to which place others of the Neighbours had also fled, with such of their Effects as they cou'd in their Confusion carry there. That this Deponan't and Conrad Bittenbender, Peter Sheaffer, John Nolf, Jacob Roth, Michael Kierster a certain Klein And one man more (whose name this Deponant hath forgot) went about Two Miles into the Woods to seek the Neighbour's Horses, whereof they found Six, And were returning with them to within half a mile of Bittenbender's House where they were attacked by Fifteen French Indians who fired upon them & killed Bittenbender, Jacob Roth, and John Nolf, as he believes, for that he saw Three fall, one dead, And took Peter Sheaffer, who received two flesh Shots, One in his Arm and the other on the Shoulder, and this Deponant Prisoners; this Deponant received no Shot. And this Deponant further sayeth, That the Indians frequently talked French together; That they set off immediately with their Prisoners: That on the Evening of the next Day they fell in with another Company of about Twenty four Indians who had Abram Miller, with his Mother, and Adam Snell's Daughter, Prisoners; The Indians with their Prisoners marched in Parties as far as Diahogo; That at this Place the Indians separated, and about Eight, the foremost, took this Deponant and Abraham Miller with them, and they never saw any of the other Prisoners afterwards: That in their way on this Side of Diahogo they saw Klein's Daughter, who had been taken Prisoner about a Week before this Deponant was taken; That a Day's Journey beyond Diahogo, they came to some French Indian Cabbins, where they saw another Prisoner, a girl about Eight or Nine Years old, who told this Deponant that her Name was Catharine Yager, that her Father was a Lock Smith and lived at Allemengle, And that she had been a Prisoner ever since Christmas; That at this Place the Indians loosed the Prisoners, this Deponant and Abraham Miller, who they had bound every Night before; That finding themselves at Liberty, they, this Deponant & Abraham Miller, made their Escape in the night, and the next Day afternoon they came to French Margaret's at Diahogo, having been Prisoners Nine Days; That they stayed about four weeks with her, during all which Time she concealed them and supported them; That some French Indians came in Search of the Prisoners, whereupon Margaret told them it was not safe for them to stay longer, and advised them to make the best of their Way homewards; That all the Indians at and on this side Diahogo were very kind to them, and help'd and directed them on their way; John Cook was particularly helpfull to them; That while they were at Diahogo they were informed that the Indians had killed Abraham Miller's Mother, who was not able to travel further, And J. Snell's Daughter, who had received a Wound in her Leg by a Fall when they first took her Prisoner, but they heard nothing of Peter Sheaffer; That in Three Days they arrived at Wyoming, by Water, as Margaret had advised them; That at Wyoming the Indians directed them the Way to Fort Allen, but they missed their Way and came the road to Fort Hamilton, where they arrived last Sunday week. And this Deponant further sayeth, that the friendly Indians told them that the Enemy had killed Marshall's Wife at the first Mountain, And further this Deponant sayeth not."
The mark of
N. B. - This Deponant saith that they understood by the French Indians, That the'd Three Days further to go from the Place from whence They escaped.
At the same time that the above deposition was read before Council, another letter from Major Parsons, of June 26th, was presented giving an account of the attack on Brodhead's house, about a mile from and in sight of Fort Hamilton, which they burnt. At the same time they killed and scalped one Tidd besides destroying a number of animals. (Col. Rec., vii, p. 620.)
Besides these murders "It is said that two soldiers of the garrison (Fort Hamilton) walking among the scrub oaks on the brow of the hill where the academy now stands (1845) were killed by a party of Indians in ambuscade. (Rupp-History Monroe County, p. 152.)
It can hardly be a matter of surprise to learn that the people in the vicinity of Fort Hamilton became very much alarmed. They realized that the Government was not affording them sufficient protection, and that the troops already on the ground were too few in number with too much territory to cover. Hence their appeal for aid, and the following petition to Governor Denny immediately after the circumstances just related:
"The Petition of the few remaining Inhabitants of the Town ship of Lower Smithfield, in the County of Northampton, and in the Province of Pennsylvania:
That the Scituation of the Petitioners being part of the Frontiers of the Province have for some time past suffered many and great Difficulties by the Excursions of the Savages, until your Hon'rs accession to this Province, and the Treaty held with the Indians at Easton, which afforded the prospect of a Peace, and gave your Petitioners encouragement to return to their Farms, in order to Plant and to Support their Distressed Familys in a peacable manner; But so it has happened, and please your Honour, to our inexpressible surprise, these perfidious murderers have renewed their Barbarities by killing, Scalping, and Captivating the Inhabitants in a most dreadful manner, which has obliged your honours petitioners to assemble with their Familys together for their Better defence, But as the Number of men now here will not be sufficient to defend themselves and Familys any long time against the Enemy, they must inevitably fall into their hands to be massacrey'd or desert the post now at _____, Either of which must be attended with fatal Consequences to the next Frontiers, and being well assured (under those dismall apprehensions) that the next under Divine Providence your Honour is our Protector, and therefore Desire that our deplorable Circumstances may be taken into Consideration, and that such relief therein may be Granted, as your Honour in your Wisdom shall direct, and your Honours Petitioners as in duty bound Shall ever Pray."
Signed by 21 persons. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 174.)
On July 25th, 1757, another petition was sent Gov'r Denny from Easton, by persons who had lived about Fort Hamilton but had been obliged to flee for safety to Easton. It is as follows:
The petition of sundry Persons, formerly Inhabitants beyond the Mountains, humbly Sheweth:
That we, your Petitioners, having made Settlements beyond the Mountains, have been obliged to leave them; that we last fall sowed some grain, which is now fully ripe and should be cut down, but for fear of being way laid and murdered by our Enemies, we dare not go to reap it, and without it we and our families must be exposed to want and become a burden to our Country.
We therefore humbly pray that the Governor will be pleased to order us a guard of Soldiers to protect us, till we can reap and remove our grain to this Side the Mountains; and your Petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.
(his x mark) GEORGE C. MENINGER,
(his x mark) MICHAEL RAUPP,
&; others. (Penn. Arch., iii, p. 238.)
Capt. Van Etten seems to have done all in his power to aid the farmers in gathering their harvests, with his limited force. During the month of July, until its abrupt termination on July 21st, we find numerous entries in his journal of detachments sent to guard the harvesters. The available soldiers, however, were certainly too few for the duties required of them, and we can readily understand the appeal for more aid.
During the Conference with the Indians at Easton in July, 1757, when a treacherous attack on the Governor was feared, Col. Weiser sent in haste to Fort Hamilton and Fort Norris for a detachment of troops to augment the town guard. This also tended to weaken, temporarily, the force at the former point.
After this the inroads of the Indians became less frequent. Continuous efforts were made to bring about peace with the various tribes, and the Delawares especially were generally won over to the British side. As a consequence it was practically determined to virtually abandon the Forts at the Minisink region, and, in the Spring of 1758, Lieut. Hyndshaw, then in command of Fort Hamilton, was ordered south of the mountains to Teed's Block House near Wind Gap. Hearing of this contemplated action the settlers sent the following petition to Gov, Denny:
"The Petition of the Distressed Inhabitants of Lower Smithfield Township, in the County of Northampton, most Humbly Sheweth:
That your Honours petitioners are under some apprehensions that the Company of Soldiers, Commanded by James Hyndshaw, are to be removed from their present Station, and of our being left in a Defenceless posture; That your Petitioners have had Intelligence of a Body of upwards of Three Hundred French and Indians that are coming Down to Distress the Frontiers of this province, and as this part at present seems the most Defenceless, it is very probable that we shall be the first attacked; That your petitioners have at present but 12 men allowed by the province, which we Humbly apprehend Can afford us but little assistance; and further, we Humbly Conceive that in case we were attacked by so large a party we must inevitably fall an easy prey to our Cruel Savage Enemy, unless your Honour is pleased to afford us a Reinforcement, which we flatter ourselves we are assured of, your Honour Having Hitherto since your Succession to this province, exercised a very Fatherly Care over us, for which we return our Most Hearty thanks; and further, we being well assured that next to Divine Providence your Honour is our protector, we Submit our Circumstances to your Superior Knowledge to act for us, who as Loyall Subjects are Determined with your Honour's assistance to stand against any Enemy that may attempt to invade us, and your Honour's petitioners as in Duty Bound Shall ever pray." (Arch., iii, p. 357.)
Aaron Dupui William McNab John McMichael Edward Conner Daniel Shoemaker Robert Hanah William Clark Daniel McIntosh Samuel Dupui Michael Shouer Daniel Broadhead John Williamson Abraham Mullux James Garlinghousing Nicholas Miekle John Higgins Leonard Weeser Isaac Flack John Cambden Enoch Freeland Frederick Vanderliss John Drake James Hilman Jeremiah Flemmer John Hilman Adam Snall William Smith Francis Delong John McDoull
These alarms were unfortunately based on something more than mere rumor. The Mohawk Indians were still inclined to side with the French and in June, 1758, had formed quite a party to attack the Minisink settlement. Teedyuscung and the Delawares endeavored to persuade them from their purpose, succeeding, however, only in part. Some of the enemy adhered to their purpose, and committed depredations above the vicinity of Fort Hamilton, which then seems to have been without a garrison. To the credit of the settlers it must be said that from the very outbreak of hostilities in 1755 they showed a determination to defend themselves and not give way to the Indians, perhaps more so than at most other localities, and this too notwithstanding the fact that the protection afforded by the Government to them was less than usual, neither Fort Hamilton nor Fort Hyndshaw being garrisoned as completely as they should have been. In this instance arrangements were made for defence at Dupui's house, but, providentially, the cloud passed by without causing any destruction.
With the great Conference at Easton of 1758, at which, finally, all the Indian tribes were represented, came peace, hastened possibly by the success which attended the British arms in the field, and the consequent discomfiture of the French. This peace, as far as the Minisink region is concerned, might never have been broken, not even in 1763 under ordinary circumstances, had it not been for an occurrence the relation of which can hardly fail to cause a feeling of sadness and regret in the heart of every reader of this history. The brief renewal of hostilities was brought about by the tragic death of Teedyuscung, the great Delaware Chief. A great man Teedyuscung certainly was. Born an Indian, and imbued with all the feelings of an Indian, who saw the bountiful hunting grounds of his ancestors and himself rapidly passing into the hands of the white man, too often by unfair means, it was but natural that, in the beginning, he should have sided with the French and given his approval of the scalping parties which went from his tribe against the settlers. It was but natural too, that, for a while, he should have wavered in his allegiance, but it is certainly a fact that early in the war he became friendly to the British Government, and from that time used all his influence in their favor. He first won over his own tribe, the Delawares, and we have seen with how much greater consideration those taken captive by them were treated, many even being released and returned to their friends. He then visited other tribes, gradually winning them over by his eloquence and arguments, until at last, in 1758, he succeeded in bringing about a general peace. At this Conference he was the central figure, to him were accorded the greatest honours, and it was his dignity and shrewdness that gained the greatest results for his people in general. Unfortunately, this proved his ruin. The Mohawk Indians were long accustomed to look upon the Delawares with contempt, as "women" and not warriors. That one, belonging to a tribe so much beneath them, should occupy such an exalted position on a great occasion like that, was more than they could brook. Their hearts were filled with a hatred which only his death could satisfy. This was determined upon, and, after the close of the Conference, they but waited a fitting time to carry out their purpose. The opportunity came with Pontiac's outbreak in 1763, when they saw a chance for double revenge, and took advantage of it.
Teedyuscung was born on the Pocono, a portion of the lands of the Minisinks, at no very great distance from where Stroudsburg now stands, the scene of our present narrative. Here naturally he returned and lived after the close of hostilities in 1758. He was always grave and dignified, although at heart he seems to have been somewhat of a wit. A tradition of Stroudsburg states that he there met one day a blacksmith named Wm. McNabb, a rather worthless fellow, who accosted him with, "Well, cousin, how do you do?" "Cousin, cousin," repeated the haughty red man, "how do you make that out?" "Oh, we are all cousins from Adam," was the reply. "Ah," retorted Teedyuscung, "then I am glad it is no nearer." (Col. Stone's History of Wyoming.)
It was whilst he was quietly living here that in October, 1763, a party of warriors from the Six Nations paid him a visit with a smile of friendship on the face but with murder in the heart. After lingering about several days they succeeded in treacherously setting fire to his house at night, which, with the veteran himself, was burnt to ashes. Thus perished Teedyuscung, who, with all his failings, and weaknesses for drink, was a brave man, deserving a better fate.
To shield themselves, the Indians who committed the dastardly deed blamed it on the white settlers from Connecticut. The result can readily be imagined. Beloved as was the Chief by his own people, their wrath was kindled intensely by his death and especially the manner in which it occurred. Parties at once started out on the war path, and in November the authorities were notified by a friendly Indian, Job Chilleway, who came to Ensign Kern's near Fort Allen, of a movement by the hostile savages on the Minisink settlements. Murder had already been committed at the Forks of the Schuylkill. The outbreak was unexpected and no preparations made for the emergency. But few soldiers were on hand. Capt. Kern had a company of some 30 men, which was in existence, and Capt. De Haas was raising another, but had only succeeded in gathering together 15. A few other companies were organized or organizing south of the mountains. Capt. Kern at once pursued the enemy and ranged towards the Minisinks, accomplishing all that lay in his power. How many murders were committed we are not told, but Rupp in his History of Monroe County, p. 155, says that on February 10, 1764, Indians, to the number of fifty, attacked the farm of James Russell, near Stroudsburg, burnt his barn, killing one of his sons and carrying off another. Also that on February 26th, John Russell, brother of James, was attacked by three Indians. He took to a tree and receiving three fires from each, returned as many and drove them off. One shot passed through his hat, another through the sleeve of his coat, and the third wounded him slightly in the calf of the leg.
With this ends our knowledge of Fort Hamilton and the events which took place in its vicinity. Closely connected with its history, however, and not far distant from it was Fort Hyndshaw.
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